US Dismisses Opposition To Restoring UN Sanctions On Iran
The Trump administration on Friday dismissed near universal opposition to its demand to restore all U.N. sanctions on Iran, declaring that a 30day countdown for the snapback of penalties eased under the 2015 nuclear deal had begun.
- Associated Press
- Last Updated: August 21, 2020, 10:08 PM IST
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UNITED NATIONS: The Trump administration on Friday dismissed near universal opposition to its demand to restore all U.N. sanctions on Iran, declaring that a 30-day countdown for the snapback of penalties eased under the 2015 nuclear deal had begun.
U.S. allies and foes have joined forces to declare the action illegal and doomed to failure, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. special envoy for Iran Brian Hook strongly disagreed and questioned the motives of those who object.
Opponents say the U.S. lost the standing to trigger snapback when President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018. Pompeo and Hook maintain that the United States retains that right and doesnt need permission to use it.
We dont need anyones permission, Hook told reporters in a briefing Friday. Iran is in violation of its voluntary nuclear commitments. The condition has been met to initiate snapback. And so we have now started to initiate snapback.
He said that whether people support or oppose what were doing is not material, adding that today is day one of the 30-day process.
The five countries now in dispute with the U.S. administration Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany remain supporters of the 2015 nuclear deal, which the Obama administration backed, to rein in Iran’s nuclear program and prevent its development of nuclear weapons.
That agreement was endorsed by the U.N. Security Council in resolution 2231, and includes the snapback provision.
Pompeo officially informed the Security Council president and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday that the United States was invoking snapback, and has the legal right because the United States is mentioned as a party to the 2015 nuclear deal in resolution 2231.
The Europeans fear that the reimposition of sanctions may lead Iran to quit the nuclear deal entirely and plow ahead with efforts to develop atomic weapons. They are hoping to preserve the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, in the event President Donald Trump loses his bid for a second term. Democratic candidate Joe Biden has said he would try to revive the agreement.
Following the meeting with Pompeo, Indonesias U.N. Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani, the current council president, began one-on-one consultations with its 14 other members on the legality of the U.S. action, council diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions were private.
Diplomats said the likely outcome of the council presidents consultations is that the majority of members inform him that the U.S. is not legally entitled to invoke snapback, and therefore they consider that snapback has not been triggered and the U.S. action will have no effect.
In these circumstances, the council president would not be required to introduce a resolution to extend sanctions relief, which would face a U.S. veto, the diplomats said.
Former Trump national security adviser John Bolton, who has long questioned the validity of the administrations argument and recently called it too cute by half, told The Associated Press: I can think of three or four ways for the deal supporters to sabotage this effort at triggering the snapback mechanism.
Im sure that the European and the Russian and Chinese diplomats are all working on that now, said Bolton, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2005-2006 during the George W. Bush administration. This was not well thought out by the United States.
Pompeo kept up his sharp criticism of U.S. allies Britain, France and Germany, who didnt support a U.S. resolution to indefinitely extend the arms embargo on Iran. It was resoundingly defeated a week ago, with only the Dominican Republic supporting the Trump administration.
The three European nations issued a joint statement Thursday saying the U.S. ceased to be a participant in the JCPOA” in 2018 and they couldn’t support Pompeo’s action, which is incompatible with our current efforts to support the JCPOA.”
Pompeo accused the Europeans on Thursday of privately agreeing with the U.S. on the need to extend the arms embargo, but lacking courage to say so publicly and proposing no alternatives. Instead, he said, they chose to side with ayatollahs.
On Friday, Pompeo said it was incomprehensible that the Europeans didnt support the arms embargo’s indefinite extension.
To side with the Russians and the Chinese on this important issue at this important moment in time at the U.N., I think, is really dangerous for the world, he told Fox News.
Hook again repeated that there was never a compromise proposal presented by any country to the United States, but diplomats said there were extensive discussions, including on a six-month or one-year extension, and on lifting the embargo and requiring all arms sales to be approved by the Security Council but there was no agreement among its 15 members.
The Europeans are still hoping that an agreement might be reached before the Oct. 18 expiration of the Iran arms embargo that could bridge the major differences between Russia and China, who support its lifting, and the United States, which seeks an indefinite extension, the diplomats said.
Russia has been the most vocal critic of U.S. action to impose snapback.
As soon as Pompeo delivered the letter invoking snapback, Russias deputy U.N. ambassador, Dmitry Polyansky, tweeted: Looks like there are 2 planets. A fictional dog-eat-dog one where US pretends it can do whatever it wants without cajoling anyone, breach and leave deals but still benefit from them, and another one where the rest of the world lives and where intl law and diplomacy reign.
Pompeo expressed certainty in a Fox News interview that U.N. sanctions will be restored, saying, Russia and China can talk a good game today, but I assure you the United States will use every tool in its arsenal to make sure that the Chinese and the Russians are incapable of delivering weapon systems to Iran that threaten us.
He added, We will do everything in our power to make sure that they dont get the money that comes alongside being a global arms dealer as well.
Lee reported from Washington.